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Billion-Dollar $upplements

Here is study looking at the economic benefits of the natural health products industry. This was a US study, but relevant to Canada (just divide by 10 to get a rough estimate on Canadian data).

In the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75% of health care dollars go to the treatment of chronic disease, with only 3% spent on prevention. Chronic disease is a huge burden on people’s quality of life, and healthcare systems spend a tremendous amount of money and human resources in treating these chronic disease. However, it has failed to focus on ways to reduce those costs through prevention, which could have profound benefits on economics.


Statins Linked to Cataracts

Another large study has linked statin use (for cholesterol reduction) to the development of cataracts. This newly published meta-analysis on 6972 statin users (compared with nonusers) found that users of the drugs had a 9% increase in cataracts. In secondary analyses that looked at all patients with no comorbidities at baseline, the risk of developing cataracts was 29% higher in the statin users. Results were consistent regardless of whether patients had been taking statins for two, four, or six years, authors note.


Folic Acid Linked to Breast Cancer

So back in January, I discussed a study that linked higher folic acid consumption to colon cancer. Remember, by definition, folic acid is the synthetic derivative of folate. When we ingest folic acid (supplements or from fortification of food), our bodies must convert it to L-methylfolate, the biologically active form of folate our bodies can use.

However, people with intestinal or liver disorders may have reduced conversion of folic acid, and further, studies show that up to 60% of the population have defective enzymes in the conversion process. The presence of unmetabolized/synthetic folic acid in the body seems to be linked to various solid tumours, and this new study now links it to breast cancer.


An Interesting Study Linking Gut Bacteria to Obesity

Here's a really brief post on a really interesting new probiotic study.

In a new study, when researchers transplanted gut bacteria from obese humans into "uncolonized" mice, it led to greater weight gain and fat accumulation than in mice that were given gut bacteria from lean humans. The findings add even more evidence that microbes in the gut influence the physical and metabolic traits of their host--in this case, showing weight and fat gain is influenced by these bacteria.

This isn't the first time I discussed probiotics and obesity. So have a look around this website and read up on a number of other interesting studies. Some previous studies I covered:

These types of studies could be used one day to develop a bacterial approach to obesity and weight management.

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Source: Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice 

Related posts:


Breast Milk Probiotics

According to the researchers behind this new study, the same strains of Bifidobacterium breve and various strains of Clostridium--which are important for colonic health--where found in the breast milk, and maternal and/or neonatal faeces of several mothers and their newborns. These strains found in breast milk, say the researchers, may be involved in establishing a critical bacterial balance in the child's gut and may be important to prevent intestinal disorders.


Which Fruits Lower Diabetes Risk?

So today's study of discussion is about fruits, and my partner and I have just concluded something interesting. Recently, her friend stopped by and gave us a non-organic cantaloupe...and all of a sudden, we have an infestation of fruit flies! All summer, with organic fruits, no fruit flies. Enter non-organic fruits, and whoa, fruit fly invasion. Is this just a coincidence or has anyone else noticed that only non-organic fruits carry these pests? Kind of interesting since you'd think that the pesticides would have the effect of deterring fruit flies. Anyway...

According to the results of 3 combined prospective longitudinal cohort studies, eating certain whole fruits may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. Logically, however, fruit juice consumption may increase the risk.

To get a better assessment of the role fruit might have in diabetes risk, researchers combined data from 3 studies: the Nurses' Health Study (n = 66,105 subjects), Nurses' Health Study II (n = 85,104), and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (n = 36,173). Participants in all 3 studies completed questionnaires assessing health and lifestyle factors, including diet, every 2 years.


Red Yeast Rice Safely Lowers Cholesterol

So here's a second study on red yeast rice (RYR) in as many posts (click HERE to read Thursday's post on RYR). In both studies, the researchers used very high doses of RYR, and this is surprising because the doses used are far higher than used in tradition medicine. This raises the risk of adverse effects, and in order to combat this, it would be wise to co-administer both CoQ10 and vitamin D3.

In this study,CoQ10 was also administered in combination with RYR, but at a shockingly low (fairy dust) levels. The researchers recruited 25 people with mildly elevated cholesterol levels to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, which included a 4-week "stabilization diet," and then either RYR/CoQ10 supplements (providing 10 mg of statins and 10 mg of CoQ10) or placebo for another four weeks.


Red Yeast Rice Instead of Statins for Cholesterol Reduction?

Statins are too commonly prescribed medications for lowering cholesterol. However, up to 40% of patients discontinue therapy within 1 year, with their reasons including: fear of adverse effects, cost, and reluctance to take prescription medications. Instead, many patients often adopt alternative therapies to manage their cholesterol levels.


Soda/Pop Linked to Aggression & Inattention in Kids

Another study has found that consumption of even one soft drink daily may be associated with increased negative behavior in young children. A study of almost 3000 5-year-olds showed that those who drank 1-4 pops daily (that's unbelievable! ...my 9-year old probably drinks 1 or 2 a year!) were significantly more aggressive than their peers who drank no soda. Further, those who consumed 2+ servings were more withdrawn, and those who drank 4+ servings had more attention problems. These associations remained even after the researchers adjusted for candy or fruit juice consumption and for a variety of social factors.